News Release

REF NO.: 85

SUBJECT: New HIV infection on the rise in Newfoundland and Labrador

DATE: November 29, 2011

In Newfoundland and Labrador there has been a steady increase in the number of HIV infections being diagnosed from two per year (2006) to seven per year (2010). National estimates suggest that as many as 26 per cent of those infected with HIV are still unaware of their status.
            Memorial University’s School of Pharmacy, in partnership with the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador (ACNL) and Eastern Health is hosting Going Viral: Keeping HIV/AIDS on the Radar Thursday, Dec. 1, from 7–9:30 p.m. at Gonzaga High School in St. John’s. This is a Café Scientifique event funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and refreshments will be served.
The café will feature presentations from Dr. Ian Bowmer, infectious disease specialist and executive director of the Medical Council of Canada; Dr. Michael Grant, immunologist, Memorial University, Faculty of Medicine; and Ms. Robyn Pardy, HIV activist and ACNL board member. The evening will be facilitated by Dr. Debbie Kelly, associate professor, HIV clinical pharmacotherapy specialist, School of Pharmacy, Memorial University.
The café will provide an opportunity for the public to engage in dialogue about HIV/AIDS issues with a panel of renowned health care providers and research experts, and people living with HIV/AIDS. Issues related to HIV prevalence, transmission, treatment and stigma will be discussed. This session will be of interest to the general public, including youth, parents, educators and persons affected and infected with HIV.
“Youth today feel less at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS,” said Philip Lundrigan, chairperson of the board of directors of ACNL. “Research has shown that the majority of students in Grade 7-9 are unaware that there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. The increase in local infections shows us that more awareness building activities like Going Viral: Keeping HIV/AIDS on the Radar are needed.”
Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day. The United Nations has declared this year’s theme Getting to Zero. This theme encourages the world’s leaders and population to work towards zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
About Café Scientifiques
Café Scientifiques started in the late-20th century as an informal discussion about scientific subjects. They were never intended to be lectures. The same holds true for CIHR Café Scientifiques. They provide insight into health-related issues of popular interest to the general public, and in turn provoke questions and provide answers.
For that reason, the CIHR Café Scientifiques are all about accessibility. They involve interaction between the public and experts in a given field at a café, a pub or a restaurant. If you want to take part in a CIHR Café Scientifique, there is no need for you to have a science degree. You just need to have a deep-rooted desire to talk about a particular health subject. That way you could learn how health research may provide answers to any questions that are on your mind.
About the organizers
As Canada's smallest undergraduate pharmacy program, Memorial University's School of Pharmacy provides cutting-edge theory in an up close and personal environment. Our graduates are taught to work as part of a health care team, putting the needs of the patient as the centre of our focus. Our school is an acknowledged centre of excellence in clinical practice training. Learn more at www.mun.ca/pharmacy.  
The ACNL is a consumer-focused, non-profit organization that provides supportive programs and services aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS and supporting persons living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. They work on a collaborative basis with partners, interested groups and stakeholders to achieve their goals and demonstrate accountability by ensuring a competent, effective and transparent organization. Learn more at www.acnl.net.

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